Social Impact of Stalin’s rule - Coggle Diagram
Social Impact of Stalin’s rule
Living in fear
One Impact of Stalin’s rule was living in fear
Fear became an aspect of everyday life in the Soviet Union under Stalin
The Secret Police had informers everywhere, and the slightest indication of anti-Stalin sentiments could warrant an arrest
People also knew they were being constantly watched and judged by Stalin’s officials. If judged poorly, it would be more difficult for them to apply for housing, jobs or holidays
If they stood out for the wrong reasons or upset officials, they could fall vicitim to the secret police, and sent to forced labour camps or even killed
This resulted in little direct opposition to Stalin’s rule as those that dared to do it will suffer either death or lesser privileges
State control of Society
One social impact of Stalin’s rule was the state control of Society
Fall in standard of living
The increasing population in the cities made the shortage of housing an even greater problem. People were not allowed to simply buy or build houses or apartments, or even to purchase land
Since these were all controlled by state, which also decided how and where its citizens would live, many lived in cramped conditions without sanitation or running water, in overcrowded cities
Also, the workers were pushed very hard in order to achieve the ambitious targets set by the Five-Year Plans.
Workers often worked long hours, with little time off, under poor conditions. The workers were overworked and not paid fully for their efforts.
The drive towards industralisation caused more people to move to the cities where the factories were located
One effect of the State control of society is the fall in standard of living
The shortage of housing and the long working hours hence led to a steady fall in the standard of living.
One effect of the State control of Society is a famine
The state controlled the use of agricultural produce from the collective farms
The ambitious agricultural targets of the Five-Year Plans meant that grain and produce were collected at the expense of the farmers.
Since the farms were owned by the state, the farmers could not keep the produce for themselves, and those that attempted to hide their produce had them forcibly taken by Party officials
During the Great Famine in 1932, the state did not distribute its stockpiled grain, but sold the grain overseas to raise funds for more industrial machinery and development.
This resulted in the death of seven million peasants of starvation due to the extreme shortage of food
Lack of consumer goods
Another impact of the State Control of Society is the lack of consumer goods
There was also a lack of consumer goods avaliable in the Soviet Union
The first two Fiver-Year plans focused mainly on agricultural and industrial targets but neglected consumer goods like sugar, chairs, and tables.
Stalin ignored the welfare of his workers, and drove to achieve the targets of his Five-Year Plans.
While the Third Five-Year Plan in 1939 finally promised to provide more ‘luxuries’ such as bicycles and radios, but these promises were not kept
The economy and industry were geared towards the production of weaponry and resources for war, in anticipation of World War 2.
The Third Five-Year Plan was thus disrupted as World War 2 began in September 1939
This affected Russia as citizens did not have access to consumer goods, hence having a Low standard of living.
This resulted in many Russian civillians not having access to luxuries like bicycles or even basic necessities like food or sanitation, hence making their life in the Soviet Union more difficult
Impact of policies on various nationalities
One impact of Stalin’s rule was the impact of his policies on various nationalities
One of the minority groups impacted by Stalin’s policies were the minority nationalities
While the minority republics were allowed to use their own languages and were governed by their own governments, these were all appointed and controlled by Moscow.
Stalin believed that mordenalisation and industralisation were more important than cultural traditions.
As a result, the same effects that Soviet Russia fell under Stalin’s policies were also felt in these minority republics
For instance, many nationalist groups in these republics who advocated autonomy for themselves were targetted in the Great Terror
This resulted in the deaths of many members of the minority nationalities like Ukrainians in order to prevent nationalism
Creating the ‘New Soviet man’
One impact of Stalin’s policies on the various social groups was the creation of the ‘New Soviet man’
Besides mordenalisation, Stalin also launched the Cultural Revolution from 1929-1931 to attack the intellectuals, the privileged class, religious leaders and artists.
This was to move the Soviet Union to a more proletarian society with proletarian values.
Within this Cultural Revolution was the creation of the ‘New Soviet man’, which is the ideal Soviet citizen who was proud of being part of the modern industrial society, and was willing to serve the state selflessly and enthusiastically
They were called the Stakhanovites, named after Alexa Stakhanov, and the state upheld the achievements of ordinary people like Teachers or miners, but many of them were connected to the Party
Initially, these celebrations spurred more to exceed their industrial targets and these Stakhanovites were hailed as heroes.
However, the pressure to perform up to the state’s standard as well as oppression faced by those who failed to do so left a negative psychological impact on Soviet society
This resulted in many getting disgruntled and pessimistic with the Five Year Plan, decreasing public support for the plans
Women’s entry into the workforce
One of the various nationalities impacted by Stalin’s policies were the Soviet Women
The Soviet constitution, as well as the international communist movement, guaranteed equal rights to women like legalising abortion and divorce to allow women more control over their own lives without interference from their husbands
Stalin’s industrialisation efforts encouraged women to enter the workforce and become productive members of the economy.
State-run childcare centres were built to enable the women to work in the factories
These facilities were poorly maintained, however, and in 1936, abortion was once again made illegal in order to protect ‘motherhood and childhood’
As a result, Soviet women were expected to fulfil both the roles of worker and housewife, hence negatively affecting them altogether by increasing the burden on them.
Compulsory schooling and lncreased literacy rates
One impact of Stalin’s policies on minority nationalities was compulsed schooling and increased literacy rates
School attendance became compulsory, and every child was entitled to at least 9 years of free education
Literacy rates increased, with males increasing from 40 percent to 94 percent and females increasing from 13 percent to 65 percent by 1939
However, the education was loaded with propaganda and emphasised communism and atheism.
Schools and universities also emphasised technical subjects that would help meet national industrialisation targets.
Teenagers were also encouraged to join the Komsomol which indoctrinated them to be loyal to Stalin and communism, and many of them were later promoted to prominent Party positions by Stalin as he eliminated his opposition.
Since the education was mainly focused around communism and practical skills, the growing literacy rate only served to further the interests and infulence of the Communist Party